The Book: Now, Build a Great Business: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market by Mark Thompson & Brian Tracy, Amacom, Hardcover, November 2010.
Obviously, I read a lot of business books. I read business books on how to love your customers, how to hire and fire, how to think big, how to narrow your focus, how to be more creative and yet more disciplined. Such in-depth attention to select issues is incredibly useful to business practitioners who know to just which problem they should apply their attention. But for new or growing business owners, a more holistic treatment to the business of doing business is needed, and that is what Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy's new book, Now… Build a Great Business, provides.
The front flap on Now, Build a Great Business pronounces: "You'll find no theory here—just practical steps you can take immediately, with simple explanations of exactly how to measure how well you're doing at each step along the way." For some, this approach may seem rote, but the authors, absolute business gurus, make the material fresh and memorable.
And being memorable is important. None of us have the time to reference back to books we've read in the past, so we need easy mnemonic devices to remember some of this key advice in times of need. Thompson and Tracy make complex and subjective concepts structured and linear.
To be a good leader, they suggest that you remind yourself of three key Ps: Purpose. Passion. Performance. When hiring, follow their Law of Three: Always interview at least three people for a position; Interview the candidate you like in three different places; Have the candidate interviewed by at least three different people.
Stocking their book with stories and brief anecdotes about other companies' successes, failures, decisions and risk-taking, the authors enable you to assess your own company and mindset—all with the goal of devising a plan with measureable goals. In one of the most simple and useful sections of the book, the authors offer "a very simple sample set of thirty-three measures to inspire or provoke you to create your own dashboard for your business."
After reading each chapter, you'll be given a worksheet where you can reflect on your own personal experiences by way of the terminology and wisdom given. I particularly love the last question on the worksheet, "What one action are you going to take immediately?" Now, Build a Great Business is oriented toward action and will help you be too.
Reviewer Jack Covert is the founder of 800-CEO-READ, a leading bookseller to corporations and large organizations, based in Milwaukee.